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Free Content Introduction: Subjects of Luck—Contingency, Morality, and the Anticipation of Everyday Life

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Abstract:

This introduction illustrates the modalities in which different societies imagine the tension between the impersonal and individual- ized aspects of fortune and fate. After briefly discussing the role of contingency, fortune, and gambling in the formation of subjectivities, we outline how different societies confront the moral conundrums arising from fortune's unequal distribution in the world. We highlight how luck orientations presentify the future by the deployment of what we name 'technologies of anticipation'. Luck and fortune can be seen as conceptual techniques for short-circuiting temporal subjectivities by creating a crack in time—a space of 'compossibility'—where events deemed to be fatal and inevitable become negotiable. We conclude with a reflection on dice, randomness, and acts of gambling in which not merely subjectivities but the fate or fortune of larger social aggrega- tions—including the cosmos—is deemed at stake.

Keywords: ANTICIPATION; EVERYDAY; FORTUNE; FUTURE; GAMBLING; LUCK; MORALITY; SUBJECTIVITY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/sa.2012.560202

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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  • Social Analysis has long been at the forefront of anthropology's engagement with the humanities and other social sciences. In forming a critical, concerned, and empirical perspective, it encourages contributions that break away from the disciplinary bounds of anthropology and suggest innovative ways of challenging hegemonic paradigms through 'grounded theory', analysis based in original empirical research. The journal invites contributions directed toward a critical and theoretical understanding of cultural, political, and social processes, as well as the work of active ethnographic researchers who study the forces involved in the production of human suffering, poverty, prejudice, war, and violence.
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